Biblical Cosmography -> Primordial Waters = Fluid Dark Matter?

So thanks for those who indulged this earlier conversation. "Waters" and "Dust" of Genesis 1 and Proverbs 8: Thoughts?

We mostly went through the “dust” of the Bible, but not the “waters.” But I’ve still been thinking about it. I’m about to drop my thoughts on you. It will be a long ride though (well worth it I hope) so strap in.

First, as I was typing the title for this, the forum said my topic was similar to this. Superfluid Dark Matter

Well, @swamidass shoot, if I could award Nobel prizes for science and theology, I’d certainly pick this theory as I was just about to drop this idea - emergent (that it existed first in creation) and virtual (I’m beginning to think virtual particles may just come a bubble of space with different dimensions than ours). :joy:

(I realize I’m redefining terms and your suggestion is really about an exotic particle or one in addition to the standard model, but I still see it as a similar suggestion.)

But let me explain what I think this has to do with theology first.

Notice “waters” exist on Day 1 in Genesis 1:2. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Then Day 2, the waters were divided with an expanse in between. Genesis 1:6-8a: “And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven.”

Later we learn that the sun, moon and stars were set in this expanse: Genesis 1:14 “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.”

So…those waters above the expanse are left out of the picture when Day 4 refers to the lights that are for signs, seasons, days, and years.

So we are out of luck learning about those waters? Nope :grinning: I found out lots more fun passages to consider. Before I go there, I had been considering that the “waters” of Genesis 1:2 were some kind of primordial soup, maybe quark-gluon plasma. Something liquid and transparent.

Then I began doing more bible study to figure out what in the world the waters above the expanse are. But what else does something liquid and transparent sound like? Well to me, it sounded like superfluid dark matter. We sure can’t see it, it’s liquid-y :slightly_smiling_face: Yes, I know dark matter is “dark” because it doesn’t reflect or absorb light; water does. :roll_eyes: Bear with me.

I first considered Psalm 148. I’m linking to the Hebrew because I think it’s crucial here. Psalm 148 Interlinear Bible
Note verse 4: Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!

What is the heaven of heavens? Is it the spiritual realm? Then I’m out of luck on dark matter. I was rooting for it. Then I came across 2 Corinthians 12:2-3. I had forgotten about these verses. They are odd. But they show there’s at least a third heaven and maybe equates it with with paradise depending on whether it’s referring to one man or two different ones! And that answered my question! Biblical cosmography is at least three heavens - the highest is the spiritual/paradise, then the heavens of heavens (the one above the expanse, dominated by waters; I’ll call it the second heaven) and then heaven that the sun, moon, and stars are set in.

So what to make of the lowest two heavens? Of course, the atheists here like to remind that in ancient cosmology heaven/firmament is a dome. I realized biblically…that’s close. But I think that for ancient and modern bible readers it is instead just our visible (to the eye) sky. The heaven of heaven is what’s beyond the visible sky that’s still in the physical realm. And for the writer of Psalm 148 to tell those waters in the second heaven to praise God, it’s not a stretch to think they must dominate the “invisible” heaven. I checked recent discoveries - knowledge of this invisible heaven is so recent with modern technology. We didn’t identify the Andromeda Galaxy until 1925, but it was a glimpse of the invisible heaven in my mind. Really, it’s crazy how recent. But when I realized fluid dark matter could be these waters of Genesis 1:6, I did a little happy dance. I was rooting for it. Hallelujah! :joy: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

So yeah, I think the same “stuff” that was the basic building material, or very similar to it, is still out there in large quantities. It may change and grow just like everything on earth. But we already know it does! Things get clumpy you know…

More food for thought… As I was considering dark matter recently, something about the vacuum made me think perhaps dark matter has negative energy. (Also I like the idea anyway, it works well for YEC time scales).

Googled. I thought this proposal might have some merit. Bizarre 'dark fluid' with negative mass could dominate the universe

Funny, I read that Sabine Hossenfelder dislikes the idea, and I like her ideas on superfluid dark matter too. I think it’d take a lot to convince her negative energy has a reality.

But there seem to be lots of good reason to think it may be reality:

P.S. For those interested in other Bible passages referring to other Bible passages that refer to the second heaven:

  1. Deuteronomy 10:14: “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.”
  2. Kings 8:27: [Solomon’s dedications of the temple: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!"
  3. Nehemiah 9:6: “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you."
  4. Psalm 104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind.
  5. Psalm 68:32:33: Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; Oh, sing praises to the Lord, Selah To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old!
    Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice."

PSS. For those that want a Bible study…there’s something very interesting going on with Psalm 68:33. Notice it’s similar to Psalm 104. But check out the Hebrew: Psalm 68:33 Interlinear: To him who is riding on the heavens of the heavens of old, Lo, He giveth with His voice a strong voice. The “of old” in Hebrew is the most ancient heavens. It might be talking about Day 4 of creation…but consider…maybe it’s talking about day 1. I explained to @Ashwin_s and maybe others here…I think these dark matter building blocks is what made up the universe - “the heavens and earth” referred to in Genesis 1. And maybe, just maybe even though Genesis 1:2 refers to the earth, and then the waters, because Genesis 1 Day 4 refers to the waters in the second heaven, the psalmist knew that the “earth” referred to the building blocks of earth AND the second heaven. :exploding_head: :star_struck: Notice that it refers to the mighty voice of God. Maybe it’s referring to the Spirit of God hovering / riding the waters, and then God speaking the light into existence. And notice the similarity of these Psalms to Daniel 7:13 and then of course Jesus referring to Daniel. I’ve sung Psalm 68 in church as referring to Jesus’ ascension. Maybe all these passages are connecting creation, Jesus’ ascension, and his second coming. :exploding_head:

I hope I didn’t scare everyone away, or I’m making no sense again. But as follow-up I was excited to realize there are 2nd heaven clouds. I don’t know if I forgot, or hadn’t come across the words “giant molecular clouds” before today. But I love this contrast between cold and hot, molecular clouds and stars, and the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud in the Bible, and just the theme of water in the Bible in general so it’s definitely a subject worthy of writing a poem about, which I hope to do.

But somehow I’ve also got to fit the mother as creator in there, so it would be fun but difficult :upside_down_face:

Job 38:8-9
“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;"

Well, I’m not getting a Nobel. That was a jest at the idea a passerby like me could do anything deserving of a Nobel. :slight_smile:

I don’t think we are on the same page on what an emergent particles is. As @structureoftruth recently pointed, I’m not sure you are using the words in the same way.

In context, I mean emergent as an entity that only arises when other entities are put together, but it does not have an independent existence. For example, imagine a line of chairs, each one of them is occupied with a person, but one of the chairs is empty. That empty chair in this line is a “gap” or a “hole” because of its position in line, but we would not call it a gap if we were considering the chair in isolation.

Turns out that we can conceive of this hole a virtual particle, that moves around here and there, even though it actually has no independent physical existence. This idea ends up being really important, for example, in how we think about semi-conductors, which can have electron holes that strongly influence their properties.

From wikipedia, they have a great analogy in reference to this sliding children’s game:

A children’s puzzle which illustrates the mobility of holes in an atomic lattice. The tiles are analogous to electrons, while the missing tile (lower right corner) is analogous to a hole. Just as the position of the missing tile can be moved to different locations by moving the tiles, a hole in a crystal lattice can move to different positions in the lattice by the motion of the surrounding electrons.

As tiles slide around, we can sensibly talk about how the hole is moving around the board. But the hole is just empty space. It is a quasiparticle, without an independent existence, and it only emerges in context of a larger arraignment of parts.

In the original thread, I mentioned phonons. Which work the same way: Phonon - Wikipedia. Also ocean waves at a beach are also emergent entities.

That’s what I meant when I was asking if dark matter was emergent. But I’m not sure if that is what you meant by it, and it at least parallel’s how physicists understand the terms at times. I think @PdotdQ understood what I meant because I was using it in a way that was close enough to how he would use it. I’m not sure you mean the same thing with that term though.

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Careful not to mix up two separate things here: holes and similar excitations in condensed-matter systems are called “quasiparticles”; these are a different concept from “virtual particles”.

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Ah, point taken. Made some edits…

Yes, I understood you to be sarcastic. I was trying to tease a little bit also.

Yes, this and the Dirac sea influenced my ideas about aether that I discuss here.

If nothing actually means something, then to me (after reading Flatland :joy:) it must be discussing a dimension we cannot experience.

No, I meant perhaps that it flows from the nature of the particles themselves. I don’t think that’s what you’re saying, but my brain’s not working that well right now.

Oh…well this is fun. Scientists don’t like this idea because it throws theories out the window. Are Dark Matter And Dark Energy The Same? - YouTube I’m liking it even more now.

@Ashwin_s @r_speir @structureoftruth @deuteroKJ

This sort of stuff is why I think Genesis 1:2 waters can NOT be H20. Electrons can be manipulated to photons and photons to electrons. Physicists 'trick' photons into behaving like electrons using a 'synthetic' magnetic field Primordial light contains electrons and photons. Light holds regular matter together. The waters were there before light. Let me know your thoughts.

I assume a biblical text was generally understandable and applicable to its original author(s)/audience. Since Israel would not know or care about modern physics, I assume God inspired Gen 1 without sneaking this info into the text. Rather, he inspired a text that suited the ancient phenomenological situation in order to reveal himself. Gen 1 is a story* meant to shape a worldview. I don’t find it appropriate to go back and figure out how it now fits our sense of the world (instead, it should continue to shape our worldview within the context we live). If Moses were writing Gen 1 today (in the West), the story probably would engage our science (but the goal would still be to challenge at the worldview, e.g., hitting against materialism and naturalism).

  • By “story,” I don’t deny any intended historical elements. For me, however, apart from the fact of creation itself, I’m not confident that any historical details are intended (e.g., order or timing of events). (Likewise, I do think Gen 2-3 is pointing to real people/events in a real past, but that the details are shaped for theological purposes so we cannot reconstruct “what really happened” in any specificity.)

Exactly this. @thoughtful, water probably means water. It might symbolically reference other things, but not other things outside the cognitive capacity of the original author and audience, right?


@deuteroKJ and @jongarvey , in cultural context, doesn’t it reference the idea of “chaos” or the “untamed”? The “waters” is connected to the idea of the ocean, which is overwhelming powerful, chaotic and untamed.

This is debated. On the strong polemical end, some see chaos, but those who see a softer polemic don’t go that far (the latter seems to be the trend). Perhaps the distinction is non-order vs. disorder (perhaps your “untamed” fits here?). In ANE thought, both the deep ocean and the desert were the place of non-order (sometimes chaos is in view). So it’s fitting that both Gen 1:2 and Jer 4:23 use “formless and void” in these two different “regions” (which seem opposite in our way of thinking).

I’ve been reading Collins’ Reading Genesis Well, and he notes that the once-popular parallel between Gen 1 and Enuma Elish is losing favor in the guild (with the more direct parallels to other Mesopotamian or Egyptian texts). EE–which really focuses on the creation from chaos theme–is sort of an outlier for ANE thinking on creation. This is perhaps why the trend is shifting slightly (i.e., against seeing Chaoskampf in Gen 1).


Okay help me understand this a bit from a textual point of view. What is the word for “formeless” and for “void”? Does it make sense to see “formless” as the ocean, and “void” as the sky?

Layman’s perspective here, so take with a grain of salt. But I’m partial to the view that “formless” just means that God hasn’t shaped it yet - and the concern of Days 1-3 is God shaping the heavens and earth by separating and imposing boundaries (light from darkness, waters above from waters below, land from sea). Meanwhile, “void” just means that God hasn’t filled it yet - and the concern of Days 4-6 is God filling the heavens and earth with inhabitants (heavenly lights, creatures of the air and sea, creatures of the land). So the phrase “formless and void” is neatly juxtaposed to the activities of the first and second halves of the creation week.

Pretty much the “framework hypothesis”, but it seems pretty plausible to me.

I think we need to read tohu wabohu as a package (hendiadys), rather than parse each word out. There’s something even rhetorical about the sound of the phrase (I think Waltke suggests “gobbly gook” as an analogy!). All of creation is tohu wabohu; I don’t think we’re meant to separate each word and ID a part of the creation or pre-creation (depending on your understanding if v. 2 logically precedes or follows whatever you take the first creative act to be).

If you did look at each word, the first (tohu) does not mean “formlessness” specifically; most of its usages are to the wilderness or a wasteland. So the image is of something like the word pictures our two English words desert and wilderness. The second word (bohu) does mean emptiness, but it’s only used in Isa 34:11 besides these two texts (and both Jer 4:23 and Isa 34:11 are “on the ground” scenes, not the sky).


:persevere: I’m ready to shake my computer, lol. I don’t know if it’s my English background or what: Have you people never heard of double meanings? Of literary themes? Sorry, lol, just a little excited over here…excuse me, but my replies here will seem like I’m shouting.

The POINT is it would be the SAME story!!! As inspired, the same story challenged the worldview then, just as it challenges it today. If it’s not challenging you, there’s something wrong. Why else are we reading scriptures?

2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

It DOES mean water! lol. Just because it’s made of different stuff, if it looks the same, we’d still call it water!

This is what I mean - it’s DISORDERED! Think about the “lake of fire” - it fits in the same theme of describing what hell is.

Yes, the stuff doesn’t have mass!!! It’s not filled - it needs the Higgs to fill it up!

Both of these texts to me are talking about judgment and hell - judgment is outside of God’s order. It’s a wasteland. It’s a parallel and double meaning.

I started writing my poem last night. I got a first draft of the first part only. I wasn’t thinking about Jeremiah when I wrote it, but I must have had it in mind:

Part 1: The Live-Giver
Deep tomb-life darkness shrouds the prize.
Love, hovering, waits–anticipates life.
Father’s voice thunders joy. His Word is light.
Heaven’s womb parts and waters break.
Earth delivered, appears.
Ah!-now blanketed, green-dressed, delight!

It’s a draft, but you can see I’m drawing parallels between Jesus in hell or in the tomb, and creation before light.

I’m reading through Isaiah for devotions. This morning I was on Isaiah 40 by coincidence, and actually I cried when I came across this verse because, well, it’s beautiful:

Isaiah 40:12: Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured the heavens with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?

The whole chapter is comparing the love and care of God the creator to the foolishness of idols.

That is really helpful. I learned a lot from that last post. I gotta say @deuteroKJ you add a lot to the forum, so it is really good to see you back here.

So, might it literally mean the “empty wilderness” or even the “uninhabited wilderness”?

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Ill just comment on this. I don’t think they’d be the same story, but they’d be stories that shared the same point/takeaway.



Fully agree with Ken on this, though I get it from Walton etc rather than from personal knowledge of Hebrew!

A key part of the concept is “lack of utility.” That of course is Walton’s “functional view,” but it also reflects a pre-modern mindset, which I go into a bit in God’s Good Earth. So to us, “wilderness” has connotations of unspoiled beauty and camping vacations. To Romanticism it was about “sublimity,” and a mountain or desert seemed “dreadful” but exciting.

But to a mediaeval (apart from a desert father, maybe), and I suspect an ancient Israelite, wilderness was where you wouldn’t bother to go because the land was useless, there was no water, and the creatures were scary.

So part of Genesis 1 is about shaping the world to be useful for man (under God). Chaos, as such, is more of a Greek concept.


If you believe this, why isn’t God continuing to inspire today, and we aren’t we looking for writings to add to the canon of the Bible?

This is why the Bible is an inspired work that speaks to every and each culture throughout history. If we don’t believe it is speaking to our culture now, shame on us. It can be all of these things.